I had an unusually active mid-morning just doing small things. I felt restless, thinking C is in Y-Town, but I don’t quite know where she is and I don’t know if I should make an effort to see her. I went to the library. It was strange to be there: C’s old house is very near school, and while I can’t see it, I can see the houses near hers, and there was an odd sense of quiet to it, as if not only her family had gone, but everybody. And maybe they have mostly. As winter goes on, more and more houses have locks on them. It’s a town and people who can go to their villages for the winter.

The library clerk was busy: he had something to do in the office. Because of that, I gave him my old books without taking new ones and went again, looking back sometimes towards C’s old house, just registering that sense of change about the place. I used to go up in the mornings toward a small alter kind of thing (I know the name—I am just not telling you what it is) and walk around it. Mostly, I was looking for C. It seemed she was almost always walking towards school when I did that. I guess my timing was good. But I will never look up from that place again and see her walking hopefully towards school, full of light in her eyes about the day starting. It felt strange to think that. I imagine it is strange for me to think that and yet have her not be dead. She is still alive: she will do other things instead. Maybe I will be lucky enough to get used to those new habits.

I think really it is strange for me for that reason. I think that is my assumption about life: not that it evolves, but that it abruptly cuts off. I never expect things to be there, in the same places I saw them the last time, only changed. I never expect people to still be there, only older, with different lives now. Things just cut off for me. I leave a place or people like I will never see them again. Like they will no longer exist after I am gone. People object to change. It is stressful. But change is so much gentler than death.

I went to the Holy Site after that and then to the hospital to get on the scale and check my weight. It seemed time to face that particular, unpleasant fact. (BMI now 17.5, which is not my idea of healthy.) A man I can’t quite remember how I know gave me a lift and dropped me back near my house again afterwards. I went to the shops and bought eggplant. I was hungry then. I made lunch after that and fell asleep.

I woke up again and listened to some Algerian music. I think now maybe Aliya was Moroccan. I seem to respond more to that dialect, but I don’t really know. Anyway, I listened to it—it’s a sad song about lost love, and she is kind of my lost love, so it strikes something to me. I listened to it and cried a lot and after a while I started to think about something else entirely.

I started to think something has happened to me without my noticing it. My personality is coming together, but actually that isn’t what I thought it was. I thought my personality would be knowing my preferences and beliefs and habits, and these things would be more closely linked to my real feelings. I thought it was something closer to my self-image. I guess in the end that might happen—it has also happened, but it’s sort of not the main event.

The main event is the development real connection between myself and the world. I hadn’t noticed it much. I had noticed the world more. I hadn’t noticed myself. I noticed the world, I had a feeling a feeling about it, maybe some thoughts, I responded to it. I didn’t quite take in that the feelings I was having about the world, which were stronger and richer than they used to be, were me. I thought about the things I was responding to rather than my response.

I wanted C. I wanted to have a connection to her. I never noticed she is making me feel a lot of things—I noticed because a lot of them were very difficult and confusing. I had to process them. But I didn’t notice my end of the connection. I just noticed her. I noticed the world had sparkles in it because of her now, but not that I was the one feeling the sparkles. I didn’t realize it was me.

When you are dissociated, a lot of life is sort of outside-in. At least, it was for me. I had to partly infer how I felt about things: I took in the world, I had thoughts and I acted, but the feeling part in between was largely missing. And it’s the feelings that give you a sense of “me-ness.” I didn’t notice the “me-ness” was coming back because it didn’t come back around the things I expected it to. I thought maybe I would know what clothes I liked: I went to the Capitol City and had to buy clothes. I still didn’t know what I liked. I just reverted to a Charlie state and let him pick everything. It felt like too much work.

There is this other misconception I had too: I thought it would be something like the parts coming together into a whole, as though the parts were complete personalities that need to be blended, and it isn’t like that. I am sure the parts are still there as elements of me, but it doesn’t seem important. They are still that kind of outside-in approach to being. From the inside, I don’t feel like a mix of parts. I don’t feel like Charlie and Verka trying to compromise because, intellectually, the adult knows they are both parts of the whole. It is quite, quite different. It is an authentic interaction with life.

I know, for example, I miss C. I can feel that inside me. That’s the “me-ness” coming back.

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